From Harrogate to Hull, Scarborough down to Sheffield, the sea to the sky – and all the eensy weensy villages inbetween – Yorkshire positively shines. Isn’t it crazy to think that this place is purely a collection of counties? To me it's like a kingdom, complete with it’s own ways, its own tongue, and it’s own culture. A world quite unlike any other.
I’m not from Yorkshire. I wasn’t born here. I’ve technically only lived here for four years of my life (though the countless summers, Christmases, and odd breaks inbetween would amount for a whole lot more). When I first arrived in this neck of the woods, I was fourteen. I was young. I was heartbroken, having just moved from Brighton, my birthplace and my soulmate, to a tiny village surrounded by fields. Gone were the days of walking into the city centre, of getting buses to parties in Seven Dials and Hove, of feeling free to do and pursue whatever I wanted.
The next two years passed in a blur of camping in fields, walking miles to friends’ houses, getting lifts from parents through the greenest green, and seeking refuge in the woods when things got tough. Though I ached for the bustle of the thriving metropolis, I revelled in the wide, open spaces. The warm, friendly faces. The pubs down the road, the corn that’d been sewed days before. We sat chatting and smoking in the haze of maize and I quickly grew to love it.
I left Yorkshire in 2008 for another slice of the globe with a massive sense of self-pride and a notorious nationalistic mindset... Texas. Though completely different places, both to me had lots of striking similarities. Both seemed like ideological islands set away from the rest of the country, yet still immersed within everything. Both to me were filled with people who's identities were so proudly intertwined with the land under their feet. In Yorkshire, there is rarely an event where you won't get groups of people chanting "YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE!" over and over again. In Texas, we pledged allegiance to the state flag everyday at school... Now that's pride.
After returning from America, and four years spent back at uni in my hometown, Yorkshire felt like the place I was longing to get back to. Unfinished business, maybe. A need for somewhere known but still new, perhaps.
I've now been in Leeds for two years, and although I'll always miss the South, my soul relishes this place.
I love the independent roaring spirit of Yorkshire. I love the scenery. I love the cities. I love the way the sun shines on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, I love the jutting rocks in woolly landscapes, I love the reviving rolling hills, the DIY arts scenes, the people that say hello to you in the street.
There's a lot of other places I love deeply too, but the sweeping sense of both belonging and calm that these counties bring me is so far unrivalled.
Yorkshire, I really do love ya.